The big question on the minds of young Southern Baptists is NOT Convention related. In fact, I think most young pastors think Convention is a waste of time. I also think they are wrong for at least three reasons:
1. Convention is the time to evaluate the value of your cooperative mission giving. You may have a more independent missions model but most of us are not financially able to develop our own immersive missions effort. Cooperative giving demands cooperative decision making. So I think that where we send our people’s money is a place we ought to work within. Convention is valuable because you can inspect the functionality of your cooperative missions giving.
2. Convention is a time to expand your network. Truth be told, most of us have a very small network of pastors and ministry leaders with whom we connect. At some time God may press you to sponsor a church plant, for example. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to go to Convention and find a church planter with whom you could have an introductory meeting? I think the Convention should work harder to facilitate and drive this concern for networking, but they are making strides toward it.
3. Along the networking lines above, Convention is one of only a few places where you can reasonably assume that the people you encounter agree with biblical inerrancy (this is not always the case, of course). We may disagree on portions of our ecclesiology or soteriology, but the whole foundational enchilada is inerrancy. Biblical arguments are great. Doctrine developed from sentiment or societal pressure is toxic. So, at Convention, your interactions and networking are done among a group of men and women with whom you have a foundational platform. You can work with these folks! That foundational agreement greases the wheels of our ministry agenda and enables us to recruit and agree on our actions together. Maintaining and fighting for inerrancy is critical. That’s why you need to be at Convention.